Pliny The Elder | Russian River Brewing Company

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3,625 Reviews
Pliny The ElderPliny The Elder

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-24-2003

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Reviews: 3,625 | Ratings: 13,976
Photo of JayQue
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from South Bay Drugs. What can I add to a description of a top 10 beer ? Pours a cloudy dark gold color with a nice size white head and clumps of lacing. Head retention is pretty good.

Smell is very pronounced floral hops. Taste is balanced (for a hophead) floral hops followed by piney hops!!!

Mouthfeel is fairly rich and smooth. nicely carbonated. No hint of alcohol, just a good bitter hops finish!!!

Drinkability is very good. I could keep sipping this one until the alcohol wins out. A great beer!!

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Photo of Sandstone
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

You know, it's really hard to come in and review a beer like this that has received so much universal praise, and feel like you have anything new to contribute. The truth is, I really don't. So let me just say this:

Believe the hype. This beer is amazing.

As a hop aficionado, I can think of no better example of a DIPA. This beer is an absolute treat for the senses. It looks good, it smells great, and it tastes incredible.


Why are you still reading this? Go find this beer and drink it.

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Photo of seanpachefddfa
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance- poured a hazed amber with a thick white head. good sticky lace

smell- floral hops, citrus, pine, sweet malts. and grapefruit zest.

taste- same as the nose but with breadyness and caramel malts. very well balanced

mouthfeel- good body and carbonation

drinkability- this one goes down way to easy. could drink 4 or 5 of these no problem

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Photo of bonkers
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass. The aroma was noticed before the appearance. Intense pine notes are released when the bottle is opened. After I poured the first bottle, my brother in law could smell the pine 10 feet away. The beer pours a deep yellow, when held up to a light it is very clear. The head is impressive and leaves a respectable amount of lacing. The taste follows the nose. The pine flavors are up front and intense. The aftertaste lingers well after the beer is sipped. The beer is a medium bodied sipper. An excellent brew! The finest DIPA I have had the pleasure of drinking.

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Photo of TIP
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beer with a unique flavor. Its high rating is well deserved. Pliny is a beer one could pleasantly get loaded on. Don't get me wrong its not a hot summer beer but one that is extremely enjoyable and makes you want to have more. An excellent story is presented on the label, which adds mystique.

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Photo of nick76
3.66/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is exquisite with lots of citrus and pine hops (cascade). There is also a fair amount of sweet malt. The appearance is pale gold with a light haze. The flavor is like the aroma and quite bitter but without much alcohol punch. The palate is a bit thin and not as carbonated as I would have liked. Overall a GREAT example of a double IPA!

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Photo of b3barron
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Scored this thanks to the kind brother of a fellow BA and consumed it on Christmas day. 500 ml bottle poured into a tumbler.

A - Normal pour produced a 1 inch frothy white head with good retention and a decent amount of lacing. Soft orange/copperish color that reminded me of a glowing sunset when I squinted and held it up to the sunny sky.

S - Freshly cut grapefruit and tangerine. Also very floral and reminded me of Two Hearted in this regard.

T - Citrusy hops up front with lingering notes of orange and grapefruit. Very soft malt backbone with pronounced bitterness throughout. Slightly dry finish. This was a fresh bottle and was very thirst-quenching.

M - Medium bodied and extremely smooth. Moderate carbonation really delivers the freshness of the hops.

D - Through the roof for a DIPA. Love the dry finish and hop-leaning balance of this beer. I would consume this regularly if I could as it is almost as drinkable as many of my favorite regular IPAs.

Perhaps my favorite DIPA to date. Many beers in this style have disappointed me lately and this was a welcome treat. I highly recommend any hophead seek this beer out.

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Photo of craytonic
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a beautiful straw-golden yellow with a nice head and great lacing. A tad more hazy than the younger

Smell: Smells like hops (pine, resin, citrus fruit zest). You can smell it across a room. Smell is not as strong as the younger though.

Taste: Very clean and crisp. Taste like hops. Pine, resin, citrus, pineapple, grapefruit, mellon. The younger has a sweet element, and the elder has a strong bitter element. Lots of zing and zap bitterness and acidity. Lots of resins and oils.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and full. The younger is much smoother and fuller, not as rough as the elder.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable DIPA

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Photo of BeerStine
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11-10-08

Bottle poured into pint glass. Took out of the fridge and allowed the beer to warm slightly.

A - Pours a cloudy light orange with a white fluffy head that subsides to a thin consistency. Head leaves sticky lace behind as beer goes down. Moderate slow-moving carbonation throughout.

S - Smell of foral and fruity hops hits you immediately. Strong grapefruit smell with a hit of pine. Malt is secondary with mild hints of caramel.

T - Strong sour grapefruit hops at first with a sweet grapefruit secondary flavor. Hit of orange flavor at times. Slight lingering acidic hop aftertaste in back of throat.

M - Medium-light weight. Perfect carbonation.

D - Very drinkable beer. Especially for being 8% ABV.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive grapefruit taste throughout the entire beer. Loving grapefruit, this is an awesome beer with a so-so label. I had passed by this beer a number of times because of the non-descript label. My mistake.

Perfectly brewed DIPA that I feel has no real weakness unless you count the mild lingering aftertaste....though it is not unpleasant. Hoppy, fruity and nice lacing on the glass.

As the label states many, many times..this beer should be drunk as soon as purchased...though not in the store or vehicle.

Another awesome beer from Russian River. Well done!

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Photo of Wackyfoot
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pour is a shiny golden shade and the bouquet and mouthfeel are both heavily imbued with pine needles. This is about as good looking, smelling and tasting as a beer can get, and I'm happy we finally got distribution of this and Blind Pig up here, hopefully we'll get more of their brews soon!

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Photo of advm1
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally had the chance to have a glass of this beer last night at a cool little bar called Toronado.

It poured out a nice bronze/gold color with almost no head by the time it reached my coaster. Lacing was minimal but a light ring stayed the duration. The aroma was hoppy as expected in a DIPA with citrus, strong pine and hints of floral accents. Very hoppy/piney taste that hung around for a long while after my first sip. This beer's flavor will defintely grab your attention! The carbonation is very light making it easy on the way down.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Secret Santa.Pours a clear, shining golden orange color with a foamy white head leaving soapy, spotty lacing behind. The aroma simply explodes from the glass with striking notes of juicy, fresh-picked oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. A lightly sweet, pale malt background sets the perfect background for the massive hop profile to do .The flavor is deliciously juicy, with bitter, resinous citrus and lemongrass hops,lightly toasted toffee and caramel malts,with a hint of honey. There's nothing overly complex going on, but it is so well blended it is incredible. Medium-full, smooth, slightly sticky body. This is so incredibly drinkable. A delicious IIPA that ranks right up there with the best of them. Thank you to the beer gods for giving me the chance to try this.

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Photo of tl00camaross
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review of any beer on the internet but felt compelled to write one after drinking this! I recieved one on Christmas morning from my grandma of all people. Having not heard of it yet I was somewhat reluctent to try.

Poured with a stong head that left lacing down the whole glass to the last sip.

The smell of hops was extiodinary! The taste is equally as amazing. No extreme bitterness, just good ole hop flavor. Slight sweetness that seemed to make it easy to drink.

I was surprised on the mounthfeel and drinkability. Much much lighter then I would have expected for a beer with this much flavor and 8% ABV. The first sip it almost felt watery but after drinking this I was glad it went down so easy. You could really concentrate on the flavor. I could easily put a few of these down in a session and enjoy every second.

Overall just an all around amazing beer. It will definetly be spending more time at my house.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.34/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orangey amber colour with a thin, pockled off-white head. Not much carbonation, bit of a lacing cradle but slides quite steadily down the glass. A bit dull and lifeless-looking, really. Disappointing.

Holy shit that nose peels a layer of skin off your nose. I mean really, that smells like hop pellets smell. Very strong and herbacious with little else to it. I like it, not all that complex but impressive.

Wow, again intense hoppiness on the palate that's like rubbing basil leaves against the inside of your mouth. Intense hop hit - cascade maybe - on the front palate that is like a miniature Everest of hops rising on the flavour. Mid palate is a bit more mild with nice malty characters and it lingers for the back palate to create a delicious bittersweet finish. Palate is very well constructed to hit you hard with hops, then pull back to leave you with a very, very pleasant, satisfying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth and basically, the more I drink, the more I want to drink. That finish is just immaculate, and the alcohol is hidden beautifully.

Delicious. Intense on first drinking but just really nice and pleasant.

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Photo of JoshuaCain
4.61/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

could not wait to finally try this brew.
poured a golden and copper blond color with a great, frothy 2 finger head.
aroma is like a botany lesson about hops, its citrusy and piney and grassy and exiting.
the taste made me grin uncontrollably for about 5 minutes. a super hoppy but well balanced beer. its like an initial hop kick in the mouth, followed by a sweet and malty french kiss, finished with another hoppy slap to the jowls. but in an awesome way.
grapefruit, pine, eucalyptus, peppery greens, pipe resin and baby tears are all present.
feels nice but not outstanding.
all in all a great beer, and a nice introduction to double IPA's, a style I have not had too much experience with.
will drink many more very soon.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Everybody wants to talk about hype. But open a bottle of this within a few miles of the conversations, and it's were saying?

I don't know if I can write one of those reviews. I'm usually not very descriptive, at least not in the right sort of way. But I did have an experience.
About the beer:
It pours out a straw yellow color, with a bit of amber. Sometimes I like my IPAs a little more copper. It suggests that your skull might not be burned out by bitterness. There's quite a head, too. I remember one little cloud of bubbles that sat on top the entire time. I had a bit of lacing, but not the strata effect.
The smell is hops. I mean, you open a bag of fresh hops and smell, that's what you get. What are the keywords: citrusy, piney, spicy, herbal, grassy? I have to use one of those right? It doesn't matter which I choose, insert one here: ___. Now forget about trying to describe the smell without smelling it. Can't be done. For those of you who aren't lucky enough to have one of these, sorry. Get one.
The taste is as if someone made hop tea. Sort of. The smell matches the taste, and you could never get a better understanding of hop taste than in this beer. There isn't the incredible bitterness that people seem to expect from the style. There were finishing hops! And lots of dry hops! Almost all aroma and flavor, with the little kick of bitterness to remind you that it's a beer your drinking. Sweetness? You could try and find it, but why would you want to? This is what all other DIPAs should try to be.
The mouthfeel, if you haven't gotten the picture yet, is just like a bouquet of hops, with a little bitterness. Easy enough.
Of course I want another Pliny. Good thing I have one. I know I didn't give it a perfect score, and I don't expect to be able to power through a bunch of DIPAs in a night. Or even two. But I wish I could, and I know I couldn't do it with this either. I actually remember waking up in the middle of the night, and my tongue was numb. The hops had invaded, and I didn't want to taste anything else, ever.
I think I'm okay now.

I know I didn't give it perfect 5s, and I doubt I will ever give anything such a rating. What can I say? But if aliens came to Earth and asked for the purpose of human life, I would give them a bottle of Pliny the Elder...Wait, if I had a bottle, I would probably bludgeon them to death with a nine iron, then drink it myself. But it's the thought that counts.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to 011x0110 for this wonderful beer via SS08.

Bottled on 100208.

Pours from a 550ml bottle into an imperial pint glass. Beer emerges a rather light colored, pale golden color with a small white head. Some good lacing going on while the head leaves fairly quickly. By the looks of this one, this might be awfully hoppy.

Aroma is pure hop goodness. Loads of grapefruit and lemon and even some grassa and a touch of piney goodness. The looks gave this one away. Without that caramel color, I had a feeling the hops would lead the show, and they do.

More hops in the flavor. This one has lots of hop flavor as well as some hop bitterness. Being a DIPA, the bitterness is kept well in check and the hop flavor seems to be the star of the show. Very grapefruity in flavor with some fresh squeezed orange juice as well.

Mouthfeel was a touch thin for me. This could be a perfect IPA but listed as a double IPA makes this one fall short a touch. I could easily drink this any day, all day. A hop lovers dream without the extreme bitterness.

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Photo of jackorain
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I stopped by Alison's Two, a newer place by my office and saw they had PtE on tap, wow.

The bartender poured a perfect draft in a stemmed glass. The slightly cloudy liquid was yellow with a tinge of copper. The head was an egg shell color, near stark white. The head stayed around for quite a long time while I took the appearance notes. As it did fall it left gobs of sticky thick lace behind. The lacing effect was so interesting to look at, I didn't want to pick it and drink for fear of ruining the look. But alas...

The aroma was a big hop blast right up front. Huge grapefruit, pine and tangerine. The malts in the aroma take quite a back seat to the hop aromas but they are present in the form of caramel and biscuit.

On first sip, the hops come pouring through. On the front line are pine, white grapefruit, grapefruit zest (lots of it). The second line brings the tangerine and ruby red grapefruit. It is interesting that both the bittersweet white grapefruit and the sweet-bitter ruby red are easily discernable in the beginning and the middle, respectively. The malts are caramel and biscuit from the nose, but there is a bit of simple syrup that rounds out a semi-sweet malt profile. On the finish, the bitterness set in and lingers quite along time. It is not an overwhelming bitterness but one that is welcome and draws you in for the next sip.

Interestingly, the body of this beer is not as full as I would have thought. I would say it ahs a medium body, leaning a little to the lighter side. As it warmed, the body got even lighter. The carbonation is both lively and creamy at the same time. The finish is a touch astringent, leaving the pallet a little dry and a touch puckered. This is cured by another sip.

The drinkability is top notch for a DIPA. The 8% does not show itself and the beverage quaffs very easily. With an unlimited supply of both money and this beer...

This is one of the finest Double IPAs I have had.

Thanks For Reading

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Photo of jjboesen
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This exquisite elixir honors the great philosopher who perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. From this tragedy comes this delicious brew from Russian River. Well ... there really isn't a direct connection, is there?

But I was honored to pay homage to Pliny the Elder at the recent Oregon Brewers Fest, where the line for this was a long, but worthy, one.

It pours a thick head that dissipates into a lathery lacing with thick clingage. The beer is a light amber color with a reddish tinge. There are intense notes of banana and citrus, the latter being somewhat reminiscent of mandarin oranges. Add to this, the expected hop heaviness; however, there is some balance to the mix that makes for a very complex mouthfeel. You may need to adjust your palate to such effect.

I can't add much to what has been written by others. This is your basic desert island beer. If you can find it, drink it - and you will savor it.

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Photo of davedahl
4.59/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pulled the 500ml bottle out of the fridge, let it warm up 15min, then poured the first glass.

The appearance is a bright golden, with a impressive chill-haze that clears up once I get 1/2 way through the beer. Good beer lowers my threshold of patience. Medium tight head dissipates to about 1/2 finger that sticks around thanks to oily hop goodness... which also produces sticky lacing yum.

Aroma is a double-handful of complex hops. Not a slam, but a beautiful aroma. Resinous pine dominates with some florals in the middle.

Tast is suprisingly fruity. Believe me, plenty of hops on the front, but in the middle there lots of ripe pear and tangerine with more floral and resinous hops.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full and sweet/bitter hop aftertaste.

Absolutely delicious. Never had a better IPA in the bottle.

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Photo of miketd
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap several time and bottle a few as well. Draft rating. Pour is cloudy orange with a big creamy head that disappears rather quickly, but leaves a bit behind. Nice lacing. Aroma is piney and citrus hops with malt sweetness. Flavor is hoppy, but not overwhelming. Like chewing fresh, wet hops...but with a good malt balance. Finishes very clean. One of my favorites.

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Photo of Biggness
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very cloudy amber with a light white head and a decent amount of lacing. The nose is of grapefruit, oranges and pine.... big hops :) The taste is very strong, especially the grapefruit hops flavor, and this beer does pocess a large malt base to be able counteract the massive ammount of hops. The mouthfeel is nice, a little undercarbonated in my opinion, but for such a huge DIPA the dry feeling afterwards is minimal. A very drinkable brew, I just wish I could get more of it :)

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Photo of onecrazybreeze
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Falling Rock. Pours hazy orangish with thick off white head that lasts and laces fairly strongly. Reeked of hops and citrus. Tastes like a hoppy dream explosion, full of citrus and pine notes. Noticed tastes in bottles is about the same, just a little less intense and definitely mellows in time (definitely a better beer fresh). One brew I'm glad makes it to Colorado.

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Photo of dsantos
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, Happy Holidays to me. I got my hands on a bottle of Pliny the Elder this afternoon and decided today would be the day to review this exceptional brew.

A: Pours a golden orange. Not much suds, light head.

S : Definite pine smell, overpowering pine and hops.

T : Extremely smooth and full of hop. More than anything it is CRISP. Not thick, light with some carbonation but just amazingly smooth.

D : Easy to see why people rank it so high. Many of the reviews were right on. It is a highly drinkable beer, the alcohol does not hit you like other beers at this percentage. Great 2IPA. Very deserving of it's high status!

Fantastic beer, so good my friend and I cracked into another bottle this evening because it was so impressive (also deserving of one of my first reviews).

Can't wait to have Pliny the Younger, if I can find it.

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Pliny The Elder from Russian River Brewing Company
4.6 out of 5 based on 13,976 ratings.
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